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149 Apartments for rent in Birmingham, AL

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Last updated March 22 at 2:57pm UTC
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City Guide
Life in Birmingham

Let’s not kid ourselves: The consensus among those who’ve never lived in Alabama – or at least visited it– is that the state is nothing but a giant backwoods farmland filled with dudes in cut-off tees who drive around in their Confederate flag-covered pickup trucks all day blaring “Free Bird.” Then they go home, crack open a fresh can of whatever light beer was on sale at the local Piggly Wiggly that day, and sit down on their couches (which are situated on their front lawns, of course) to watch NASCAR races that they taped on their circa-1983 VCRs.

Such depictions of ‘Bama may make for comedy gold, but the truth is that metropolitan Birmingham in the 21st century is home to more than 1.1 million residents who hail from various walks of life and enjoy all the amenities of a modern big city. Formerly a hub for the agricultural and steel industries only, Birmingham is now a hotspot for the healthcare, financial, and publishing businesses as well. Three of the state’s major law schools are located within city limits, in addition to the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the UAB School of Medicine, and various other private and public universities, which combine to give parts of the city a strong collegiate vibe.

The city is also dotted with numerous parks, trails, art galleries, nightlife venues, ethnic restaurants, an opera house, symphony orchestra, and various museums including the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and Kelly Ingram Park, which pay tribute to past residents who dedicated their lives to the struggle for racial equality. Bottom line: If you show up in Birmingham expecting to find some barely-modernized episode of Hee Haw going on around you, you’re in store for a mighty case of culture shock.

Jobs and the Mighty Dollar Bill

Because the city’s cost of living rate is so low (17 percentage points lower than the average American city), Birmingham is an ideal stomping grounds for careerists looking to settle down, build up a bankroll, and stash away some greenbacks in the process. The city has become a hotbed in recent years for white-collar professionals in the medical, insurance, and financial industries, many of whom live in the plethora of budget-friendly rentals in the B’ham ‘burbs and commute to the inner city for work each day.

We don’t want to send you into Birmingham under false pretenses, though (wow, aren’t we sweet!), so you should probably know that “Magic City” isn’t quite so magical for all those in the workforce. Certain parts of the city are rather destitute, and nearly a quarter of Birmingham residents live under the poverty line. So use that world-famous common sense of yours and make sure you have a reliable gig lined up in Birmingham before scouring the land for your dream dwellings.

Traffic, traffic, and traffic

Have we mentioned traffic?

Because basically everyone in Birmingham who lives outside the downtown area drives his or her own car, rush hour traffic can be a soul-sucking, white-knuckling, hair-pulling, fist-shaking, middle finger-waving misadventure. Try traveling east on Hwy 80 around five o’clock, for instance, and you might find yourself jealous of the slugs crawling by at a pace much quicker than your own. Likewise, it won’t take long for you to realize why locals have dubbed the I-59/I-65 interchange “Malfunction Junction.” Public transportation (the MAX city buses and DART trolleys) is available, but it’s only a reasonable option if you’re bumming around the inner city, so make sure you bring your own car to Birmingham, and plan on spending an hour or two inside it on most days.

In recent years, the downtown area has seen an increase in high-end lofts and condos, while the areas immediately surrounding the eclectic, artsy Five Points South district remain popular locales for leasers as well. Some of the more desireable suburban neighborhoods include Mountain Brook, Homewood, and Hoover, where renters can typically find quality apartments and freestanding houses for rent in the $600-$800 range.

Tips for Tenants

Apartments and other rental units are easy as mom’s apple pie to find in Birmingham, so take your time and shop the market before settling on your future lodgings. Waiting lists are pretty much nonexistent, but if you do come across one, you might want to just shrug it off, because it won’t be difficult to find something comparable. Whether you’re in the market for a basic studio pad, a luxurious flat loaded with flash and dazzle, or anything in between, you’ll have no shortage of options in Birmingham.

In addition to apartments, condos, and townhouses, single family detached homes are readily available in Birmingham. Boring but meaningful stat alert: Just 47 percent of the city’s residents are homeowners, but freestanding houses account for 61 percent of all residential buildings. It doesn’t take a math degree from UAB to realize those numbers add up to good news for renters who’d prefer four walls to call their own (at least temporarily!).

Different landlords throughout town have different rules regarding pets (most allow them, but some don’t), subletting, and roommates, so before you visit an apartment, call ahead to get some preliminary info. And be on the lookout for move-in specials, which frequently pop up especially around the UAB/Five Points/Southside areas. Rental prices obviously differ depending on size, location, and amenities, but the typical 1-2BR unit in Birmingham goes for between $500-$800 and lucky leasers can even find a few furnished luxury pads in a similar price range.

And now you’re all set to start the journey for your dream digs. So welcome to Birmingham, enjoy some grits and hominy while you’re down here, and happy hunting!

Rent Report

March 2018 Birmingham Rent Report

Welcome to the March 2018 Birmingham Rent Report. Birmingham rents declined over the past month. In this report, we'll evaluate trends in the Birmingham rental market, including comparisons to similar cities nationwide.

Birmingham rents declined over the past month

Birmingham rents have declined 0.8% over the past month, and are down slightly by 0.3% in comparison to the same time last year. Currently, median rents in Birmingham stand at $780 for a one-bedroom apartment and $900 for a two-bedroom. This is the seventh straight month that the city has seen rent decreases after an increase in July of last year. Birmingham's year-over-year rent growth lags the state average of 0.6%, as well as the national average of 2.3%.

Birmingham rents more affordable than many large cities nationwide

As rents have fallen slightly in Birmingham, many large cities nationwide have seen prices increase, in some cases substantially. Birmingham is also more affordable than most large cities across the country.

  • Birmingham's median two-bedroom rent of $900 is below the national average of $1,160. Nationwide, rents have grown by 2.3% over the past year compared to the 0.3% decline in Birmingham.
  • While rents in Birmingham fell slightly over the past year, many cities nationwide saw increases, including Phoenix (+3.3%), Atlanta (+2.3%), and Seattle (+2.1%).
  • Renters will find more reasonable prices in Birmingham than most large cities. For example, San Francisco has a median 2BR rent of $3,040, which is more than three times the price in Birmingham.

For more information check out our national report. You can also access our full data for cities and counties across the U.S. at this link.

Methodology - Recent Updates:

Data from private listing sites, including our own, tends to skew toward luxury apartments, which introduces sample bias when estimates are calculated directly from these listings. To address these limitations, we’ve recently made major updates to our methodology, which we believe have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of our estimates.

Read more about our new methodology below, or see a more detailed post here.


Apartment List is committed to making our rent estimates the best and most accurate available. To do this, we start with reliable median rent statistics from the Census Bureau, then extrapolate them forward to the current month using a growth rate calculated from our listing data. In doing so, we use a same-unit analysis similar to Case-Shiller’s approach, comparing only units that are available across both time periods to provide an accurate picture of rent growth in cities across the country.

Our approach corrects for the sample bias inherent in other private sources, producing results that are much closer to statistics published by the Census Bureau and HUD. Our methodology also allows us to construct a picture of rent growth over an extended period of time, with estimates that are updated each month.

Read more about our methodology here.

About Rent Reports:

Apartment List publishes monthly reports on rental trends for hundreds of cities across the U.S. We intend these reports to be a source of reliable information that help renters and policymakers make sound decisions, and we invest significant time and effort in gathering and analyzing rent data. Our work is covered regularly by journalists across the country.

We are continuously working to improve our methodology and data, with the goal of providing renters with the information that they need to make the best decisions.

Birmingham Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states
Here's how Birmingham ranks on:
C Overall satisfaction
C Safety and crime rate
B Jobs and career opportunities
B- Recreational activities
A- Affordability
B+ Quality of schools
B- Social Life
C+ Weather
C Commute time
D State and local taxes
D Public transit
A Pet-friendliness
Best Worst
Full data available when viewing on a non-mobile device.
Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released Birmingham’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters nationwide, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of the country’s 111 million renters.

"Birmingham renters expressed general dissatisfaction with the city overall," according to Apartment List. "Some categories received above average scores, and many received near-average scores."

Key Findings in Birmingham include the following:

  • Birmingham renters gave their city a C overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for Birmingham were pet-friendliness (A), affordability (A-) and quality of local schools (B+).
  • The areas of concern to Birmingham renters are state and local taxes and public transit, which both received D grades.
  • Birmingham did relatively poorly compared to other Southern cities like Atlanta (B), New Orleans (B), Charleston (A-) and Columbia (B-).
  • Birmingham did relatively poorly compared to cities nationwide, including Houston (B+), Chicago (B-) and Raleigh (A).
  • The top rated cities nationwide for renter satisfaction include Scottsdale, AZ, Irvine, CA, Boulder, CO and Ann Arbor, MI. The lowest rated cities include Tallahassee, FL, Stockton, CA, Dayton, OH, Detroit, MI and Newark, NJ.

For more information on the survey methodology and findings or to speak to one of our researchers, please contact our team at